Using Peer Teams to Lead Online Discussions
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This study investigated an online course in which groups of four students were used to lead online discussions. The teams were examined for their ability to bring instructional design, discourse facilitation, and direct instruction to the discussions. The setting was a graduate-level communications networks course delivered asynchronously to a cohort group of 17 adults enrolled for professional development education. Interviews, questionnaires, and content analyses of the discussion transcripts indicate that the peer teams fulfilled each of the three roles and valued the experience. Students preferred the peer teams to the instructor as discussion leaders and reported that the discussions were helpful in achieving higher order learning objectives but could have been more challenging and critical.